Yves Simoneau Helming WWI Story Harlem Hellfighters
by Alex Billington
October 21, 2008
We've got George Lucas' Red Tails, about first African-American fighter pilots in WWII, heading into production soon; Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna, about four black soldiers from the all-black 92nd Infantry Division in WWII, just hit theaters last month. Next up is Harlem Hellfighters, written by Travis Adam Wright (of Eagle Eye), that tells the true story of black soldiers from Harlem who brought jazz music to France when they were sent there during World War I. Lord of the Rings producer Rick Poras will help co-produce with Wright and Canadian filmmaker Yves Simoneau has signed on to direct. Wright has high ambitions for the project and hopes to assemble a cast of "the greatest living black actors."
The project will most likely shoot in the US and Gaul. Wright has already started talking with the French Ministry of Defense about recreating a half a mile of trenches and hopes to begin shooting in July. I'm not at all that familiar with WWI history, but I already really like the sound of this project and will be supporting Wright and Simoneau as best I can. I haven't yet seen Miracle at St. Anna and don't know too much about Lucas' Red Tails, but something about this story specifically sounds like it could be better than both of those. The photo above is an actual photo of the Harlem-based WWI soldiers returning home in 1919 (via Flickr). We'll be sure to let you know who they end up casting. Any suggestions?